The question some parents dread..“what do you want for your party this year?” Dealing with their minds changing everyday then trying to decide who you want to invite because we all know the list your kid will come up with includes every single child they have interacted with.
I love party planning and I have thrown pretty elaborate birthday parties for my boys. Okay, keeping it real. My older one got a lot of elaborate ones, my younger one had ONE for his first birthday!
They are now 4 and 7 and we recently started a new tradition for birthdays where we give them a choice between a party or a one night staycation of their choice (within reason of course). Depending on where we are going, we invite friends to join or we just make it a family thing.
Believe it or not, after the first time my older one chose to do a staycation, that is all we have been doing for birthdays. The kids LOVE staying in a hotel, the parents get a chance to get away and you get family time. Sometimes we just meet up with a friend or family that lives near where we are going rather than having them at the whole vacation. The kids get so excited to see other people. It’s been something that our kids look forward to every year when their birthday comes along.
Other benefits, since you are just going for a night or two, you can use points to stay at nicer hotels. Try finding ones that do stuff for kids to make them feel special on their birthday!
Here are some ideas and things we have done in the past that have been huge hits for staycations as an alternative to birthday parties. As you know, I live in SoCal but I am sure you can find places like these anywhere you live too.
1 night in Beverly Hills
We recently did this and in less than 24 hours we got to experience so much! We left after soccer on Saturday, checked into a our hotel, chilled with the kids, had an early dinner, went to an LA Galaxy Soccer Game and passed out! The next day we went to a nice brunch, visited the wax museum, walked around Sunset Boulevard and headed home. We left San Diego around 12:30pm on Saturday and were home by 5:30pm on Sunday.
2 nights at a Resort in Laguna Beach
We stayed 2 nights at the St. Regis. We literally lived on the beach. I bought some sea animals from of course Amazon and hid them on the beach. The parents chilled and had drinks while the kids did a scavenger hunt to find the animals. We went to a dinner with friends. The hotel delivered milk and cookies to the bday boy in the morning and gave each child a stuffed animal.
1 night at the Legoland hotel
Our good friends did this for their son’s birthday and I must say, their advice was one to follow. Again it was less than 24 hours but the hotel itself had so much for the kids to do, it kept them busy the first night. We didn’t even go into the park until the 2nd day. Staying at the hotel also has perks like getting in early, breakfast included and even scavenger hunts for the kids.
1 night at an indoor water park/hotel
We actually did this for a fellow Chaimomma’s son to celebrate his birthday. Again just 24 hours but the kids had two days to enjoy the indoor water park. We ventured out in the evening to try a new place to eat and stopped to get dessert for the kids. The kids got wolf ears to wear when they got there and unlimited access to the water park and pool…what more could they ask for!
1 night at a local camp site
So I am not a camping person, my preference would be a cabin. For a more outdoorsy family, check out your local parks because many of them offer camping. It’s close to your home so if anything doesn’t go the way you planned, you can easily drive back. Of course, if you decide to go on a camping trip, it may be best for the whole family if you try and stay for its duration. You could even make it fun by deciding to look at forms of night visions so you can go on late evening walks to see what animals you can spot. For young children, this can provide excitement, as well as trying something that they may have never took part in before. Bring fun tents and sleeping bags and as a gift for your child, make them a little camp basket with smores, snacks, a blanket and any other fun stuff.